Sunday, July 3, 2016

Here Is Peace

I'm up at the homestead this July 4th weekend, so naturally Chelle and I have been busting butt as usual working on the property. It always feels like we do so, so much and barely make a dent. Then I looked through some photos from last year and was reminded that yes, actually, we have done a lot.

There's this before and after:

Actually, after and before.

Heck, the house hasn't been up for an entire year yet. It wasn't even completed until this past December.

Under construction
 Aside from clearing up debris around the house, we've added three willow hybrids to the left side of the pond and have three more tall evergreens to put in, along with two cypresses. That'll get done soon. Then, next spring, we know a local guy who has some maple and redwood saplings he's willing to give us, so we'll put those in then. Pine and oak trees are also sprouting up of their own accord. Having always loved the smell of cedar, I also want to put in one of those somewhere.

The pond will be on the agenda for next spring, too. By then the aspen we put in last year should be thriving, and we need to get the pond aerated and healthy again. Once that's done, we can add a few trout as they'll have a place in shade towards the back where two other low trees with overhanging limbs are. We normally catch and release, although the big trout worth eating can be found in the creek when the summer tourists haven't caught them all.

Then there's the orchard, where three apple trees already are, the fire having miraculously jumped over that area. We need to get it better irrigated and then will add more fruit trees--certainly cherry and pear, maybe a few others. We do have blackberry bushes all over the darn place as well. Manzanita is sprouting up here and there, too, and as long as we don't let them take over, they'll be a nice addition. Red buds are coming up, too.

I also think about our beautiful fishing hole (ignore those dead tree limbs!)

Summer, with sweetpeas
Winter, with snow

And the daffodils, hyacinth, and tulips of spring, along with the irises, begonia, and daylilies of summer, all of which I put in myself around the house . . . although with the spring flowers comes the memory of stepping backwards onto a loose lava rock, spinning around midair, and slamming down face first on the ground! My students all thought I'd gotten into a fight with my chin banged up and bruised like that. I was more graceful when I was drinking booze, and that's a fact. Nowadays I seem to attract accidents.

Be careful gardening in this bed.

I think fondly of our first Christmas here.

Ho! Ho! Ho!

And then, of course, there's everybody's favorite room in the house--the loft.

Here is also a good place for a nap.
A loveseat is now stationed permanently in front of the loft window, and it's the perfect place for morning coffee or for curling up with a good book.

So, no, I can't be displeased with how the house and property are coming along. No, maybe . . . I think what actually displeases me is that I can't be here around the clock all the time. What is it about nature? It regrounds me, reminds me of what's important: I'm part of a natural community of trees, soil, rock, plants, animals, water, sun. I'm part of something bigger than me. Out here, on a starry night in the quiet, I'm reminded of who I am. It's so easy to lose that sense of reverence and connectedness in the city. There, my mind is occupied with things like the election or what else can I do to keep my students interested or how in heaven's name did Johnny Snowflake even get his driver's license, much less land in my Advanced Comp. class. Who passed this guy? *shakes fist*

Here is peace. So, here we will work our butts off, again and again and again, until we have built a total retreat. I expect it's a job that will never be complete.

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